Writing up an employee isn’t something anyone looks forward to–or anyone’s first choice. Often, written warnings are an indication that early disciplinary processes have come and gone, which an employee is headed down a route for termination. By now , you’ve likely put during a lot of time and effort to help them change–with little or no improvement.
Escalating things “officially” may feel intimidating, but it’s also a chance . A written warning creates a written record and provides employees with a formal structure for getting things back on track. Follow these eight easy steps to form sure you get it right.
- Don’t roll in the hay when you’re angry
It may be odd to start out with a “don’t”, but this step is far and away the most important. Don’t work on an employee write-up when you’re already angry or stressed about things . you would like to be able to document things objectively (which we’ll get into next), which can be hard when you’re emotionally involved.
You’ve likely already skilled a verbal disciplinary process and maybe given feedback several times, in multiple ways. you’ll be ready to let employees know just how badly they’ve screwed up. As tempting because it is, don’t.
It’s important to stay your cool in any employee disciplinary situation, but even more so when it involves written documentation. a proper employee write-up will go in their employee record, which you shouldn’t assume nobody else will never see it. within the case of a wrongful termination lawsuit, you would like to share any documentation you have about an employee’s performance, and you would like things to stay business, not personal.
A formal employee write-up is also a form of progressive discipline meant to help correct employee’s behavior in a tangible way, not be a written tirade against them. If it’s not a bit of helpful information for them or is just you letting off steam, it’s not appropriate to incorporate . If an employee does something wrong and it’s to write down them up, take each day , get some space, and are available into it clear-headed.
- Document the matter
Now, onto the do’s. Documentation is vital for evaluating employee performance–good or bad–and managers should get comfortable documenting all types of employee interactions. Having solid documentation can protect you by:
Providing a written record in the case of an employee lawsuit, even in at-will states.
Supporting the choices behind every employee action you take–including why some employees are promoted and others are fired, also as who receives a raise and why.
Giving a concrete timeline of employee behavior and progressive disciplinary action.
When you’re ready (and calm), start your employee write-up with documentation explaining the matter with their performance:
Address your write-up to the worker and provide a record of their behavior up to this point.
Use specific examples with times and dates.
Above all else, stick with the facts. Stay objective, and only speak to what happened and when.
In an employee write-up, ensure you’re not adding your own spin or making employees feel like you’re fulfilling a personal vendetta. Don’t say: “Tom may be a procrastinator and lazy.” Say: “Tom has shown up late for his shift three times” and include which shifts those were, with the precise clock-in times.
- Use company policies to back you up
Ever heard someone say that the rationale they were fired is because their manager simply didn’t like them? While employees may say it’s bias or draw their own conclusions for a poor performance review, a manager’s goal should be to return across as the complete opposite.
It’s not that employees can’t delay to an arbitrary standard. It’s that they’re not upholding the corporate policies they agreed to when they were hired. So after you’ve walked through what’s wrong with an employee’s performance, the subsequent step is to explain your reasoning and tie their actions back to company policies and expectations for their role. Here are some common scenarios:
An employee is consistently late to work: refer to your attendance policy which mandates that employees can only be tardy twice before disciplinary action is taken.
Dress code violations: include that company policy says employees must always be in their expected uniform while on the clock.
An employee continues to use social media during work hours: cite your telephone usage rule and that employees shouldn’t be using social media or personal devices while on the clock.
When it involves progressive discipline, a write-up may be a to explain why the documented behavior isn’t up to standard and how employees are expected to improve. If your employees signed an employee handbook or attendance policy once they were hired, now’s an honest time to include that as well.
- Include any relevant witness statements
If the performance issue at stake was raised by another team member, involves multiple employees, or your employee works closely with another supervisor or shift manager between you, include their statement in your write-up. confine mind any of these statements may be relevant later in the case of a legal claim. So it’s important for witness statements to follow the identical guidelines as good documentation:
All witness statements should be factual observations, not subjective opinions.
Witness statements should help build a reputable case of ongoing behavior leading to the employee write-up.
Witness statements should include any efforts or disciplinary measures by other supervisors to correct behavior along the way.
- Set expectations for improvement
After you’ve detailed where your employee’s performance must improve and why, it’s time to line guidelines for how you expect them to correct it. It’s not helpful to easily lay out what employees have done wrong. In fact, the Harvard Business Review reports that more employees would rather receive corrective feedback from their boss than praise which 72% of employees believe their performance would improve if they received corrective feedback.
Corrective feedback is honest, focuses on the difficulty (not the person), and includes steps for improvement. So set your employees up for what is going to come next once they’ve received their write-up. Include the corrective action needed and what the result will be if they improve, or if things worsen . If the worker doesn’t improve and the next step after the write-up is termination, make it clear in order that they’re prepared for exactly what’s on the line.
- Deliver the news face to face (and proof of receipt)
Once you’ve finished the disciplinary write-up, schedule a gathering with your employee and walk through it together in person. Bring a witness along to verify that the meeting happened and that your employee was made aware of concerns with their job performance. Then it’s time for the conversation to begin:
Share your concerns and take employees through each example of poor performance. If your employee asks for proof or argues that a specific issue did or didn’t occur, use your documentation.
Point back to your company policies. Every employee read and agreed to the policies once they were hired.
Explain what happens next and which steps you expect them to require in response to the write-up.
At the end, have your employee sign the write-up confirming that they’ve received and skim it.
Your employee might not take the news well. they’ll refuse to sign the write-up. If you’re worried which may be the case, the Society for Human Resource Management suggests leaving space on the write-up for workers to add their own comments and signed response, or allowing employees to submit a written rebuttal with their signature, which you’ll then attach to their disciplinary write-up.
- Keep a replica for your records
Once your employee has signed the write-up, give them a replica and keep one for your own records. Add it to their employee file in order that you have a record and proof that they received the write-up.
If any sort of wrongful termination or discrimination suit arises, you’ll have the backup you would like . The documentation will show that you simply handled the process correctly and your employee was informed every step of the way.
- Follow up
The disciplinary process doesn’t end after you write up an employee. Finally, make certain to follow up based on the schedule you outlined in the disciplinary notice. See if your employee’s performance improves and if they hold to the changes expected in their write-up. If not, you’ve already laid out the steps for what comes next.
If your employee does improve, consider continuing the probationary period past their write-up date. Trust takes time to create back, and that they won’t become employee of the month overnight. It took time for things to urge to disciplinary notice stage, and it’ll take time to urge them back.
An employee write-up isn’t a magic answer to disciplinary problems. Sometimes it takes a proper notice to give an employee the wake up call they need to change their behavior. If they are doing improve, give them more responsibility and see if they continue rising to the challenge.